The Only Good Reporter Is An Argus Reporter

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm
By: Doug Lund

I haven’t written a blog for awhile and after this might just be my last..but here goes.

This past week, as I discovered the names of many talented journalists at the Argus Leader who were getting canned in the company’s latest strategy move to keep afloat or relevant..or whatever… I also learned that the former senior elevated to the obscure title of “content strategist” was taking pot shots at every news reporter in town except the two guys sitting next to him on his appropriately named “100 Eyes Webcast.” ( So named because I doubt if it is seen by more than 50 people a week.)

I get angry when people I know in the broadcast news business, who work every bit as hard at their craft and are as dedicated to journalistic excellence as anyone at the Argus..get blindsided by this guy who thinks he has a finger on the pulse of Sioux Falls area residents and figures they (using the obvious “bicycle” metaphor here) need to “Roll with the changes” the Argus is offering at nine bucks a month to go digital with him.

Here’s an excerpt from his webcast. I want you to note in particular the lack of any feeling whatsoever by he or his toadies after having just had so many of their long time colleagues like Joel  Brown, Janna Farley, Jon Walker, Peter Harriman, Ron Hoffman, Doreen Weinstein and others  unceremoniously “streamlined” right out the door. But, hell..that’s their business not mine. I want you to watch this video to the end where he lays into broadcast reporters..wherein lies my beef.


What Mr. Strategist knows and isn’t saying is that when his two pet reporters need more time for investigative reporting or to read Cory Heidelberger’s blog for ideas, they will have it and all the page space they need.

He also knows that stations like Keloland turn out five newscasts and one web newscast a day..while maintaining the top web site in the state. Reporters, including anchors, are expected to contribute daily packages that tell the story with facts and interviews while fitting  it into the newscast time restraints..or going live from the scene when a situation warrants.


I like getting my Argus Leader in the morning. I think it’s gotten better since adding the USA Today section.  I like a lot of the people who work there..although many of them and their paychecks..have been sent packing.

My computer says I’ve used up my limit of free time on the Argus web page without paying the nine bucks.

Think I’ll pass.

A Promise Remembered

Posted: Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm
By: Doug Lund

It’s true that us old farts have glommed on to Facebook making it uncool for kids to hang around much anymore  but I don’t give a rip. I’ve had great joy reconnecting socially with people from the past..especially those who passed through the Keloland newsroom on their way to bigger and better things. Many came just to chalk up some broadcasting cred and didn’t leave much of a footprint but others really enjoyed their experience here and left with more than just news knowledge.steve boyd

That was Steve Boyd; a tall, dark handsome lad from Buffalo, New York who we all figured would come in having a big city attitude. He had an attitude all right; one of respect, good humor and a thirst for learning all he could about the business.  Steve went on to work a few more years in television news before going to law school. He’s been a successful attorney in his hometown of Buffalo for many years but never forgot his time in Keloland as is evidenced by this memory he wrote and shared on Facebook.   I, in turn, want you to read it in hopes you will be as moved as I.  Again, the following are words written by Steve Boyd which he posted on Facebook Sunday morning.   (At the end of his story, I’ve put a link to a blog I did about Jan Peterson shortly after her death.)

In November 1988 I was anchoring the weekend news at KELOLAND News in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Despite the size of the market, KELO-TV was one of the best local TV news rooms in the country. Reporters had expense accounts back then. We were expected to use them to develop relationships with sources for future stories. We were the smallest market in the country to own a satellite truck (new technology in the 1980’s). When big news broke, money was no object. We covered five states and we were stacked with talented Journalists.

One of them was a short curly haired bespectacled Executive Producer named Jan Peterson, Jan started at KELO as an intern and over time she became our leader. She had a passion for Journalism (yes that’s a capital “J”). She set high standards and she was involved in countless community charitable endeavors. As our former anchorman Steve Hemmingsen described in a 2004 Christmas post:

“She was one of those balls of fire that with her little red pickup (before that was cool) was involved in everything, every project at the station and projects that helped others who faced challenges, banging nails for Habitat for Humanity, taking blind people skiing in the Black Hills, using her summer vacation to be counselor at a church camp.”

I had arrived at KELO in the fall of 1987. I’m pretty sure Executive Producer Jan Peterson had little regard for some A-hole (yes capital “A”) from Buffalo who was looking to make a quick stop in Sioux Falls before moving on in his career. But over time, with Jan at the helm, along with Mark Millage, Steve Hemmingsen and others, I began to really learn what it meant to be a Journalist.

One night when staff was particularly short, Jan produced our weekend news. Between shows, she wanted to show me and fellow Anchor/Reporter Julie Francavilla a little diner where we would allegedly experience the best apple pie of our lives. I don’t remember if the pie was any good, I’ll never forget the conversation.

Big fat white snow flakes were slowly wandering to the ground outside the window as we sat there. It was pitch black outside and only the lights from the diner illuminated the sparse flakes. It was the first snowfall of 1988. Jan from Boone, Iowa, Julie from Boulder, Colorado and this Buffalonian laughed as we discussed and debated our expertise on the topic of what it took to make a “perfect” snowfall. Was it the big fat gentle flakes we were witnessing? Did the perfect snow leave the kind of powder that western skiers love so much? Or was it heavier for good packing in a snowball fight? This discussion lasted a long time and we laughed, agreed and disagreed. As we paid the bill I made a promise to Jan. No matter where I was in the world I would always think of her and that conversation when the first snow fell.

I left Sioux Falls for Buffalo in 1989. Two years later at age of 32 Jan Peterson suffered a major stroke. She was paralyzed from the eyes down. The stroke robbed her of every bodily function except her sight, her hearing and her brilliant mind. Jan lived inside the prison of her body for fifteen years until she passed and was buried in Boone, Iowa on May 3rd, 2008.

Yesterday, as I walked out to my car I saw flurries in the air. They didn’t stick to the ground. They left no covering, no powder to blow, nothing to pack. This year’s first snowfall was not at all perfect. Still, for the 28th time the first flakes of the year took me back to an old diner in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and a promise to my old friend Jan Peterson. Long gone. Never forgotten.

Dark On Halloween

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 8:45 am
By: Doug Lund

Sorry kids..the Lund house will probably be dark on Halloween night.

It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s just we’re too cheap to spring for candy.  Nah..that’s not really it either.  I suppose the main reason, for me anyway, is that Halloween hasn’t been the same without kids or grandkids around to take trick or treating. I’ve been doing it since my own daughters were little and the tradition continued with my kid’s kids and Linda’s kid’s kids. I loved walking the neighborhood with those excited little souls all dressed up in costume..usually of their own choosing…waiting on the walk as they ran up to the door…first explaining why we only go to houses with the porch lights on.

I fondly remember the joy of hearing their tiny voices either whisper or yell “Trick or Treat” depending on the precociousness of my grandkid’s varied personalities. It was also fun to fake being totally frustrated by having to remind them to say “Thank You” after receiving a sweet reward from the nice person bent over in the lighted doorway. Eventually, their containers would either get full or their little feet would grow tired so  I’d plan the shortest route back to our house to show Grandma Linda the big haul.  I loved trying to negotiate with the kids  for my share of the loot which provided me an opportunity to teach another life lesson; this one about sharing. None of them bought-in to my flimsy threats to paddle their behinds if I didn’t get a few Tootsie Rolls. Oh, what fun it was and oh, how I miss it.

Our youngest grandchild just turned 13 and I suspect considers herself too old for playing the traditional door to door extortion game. Besides, she lives too far away in Lincoln.

We have a great grandchild..but she likely already has a line of high priority chaperones anxious to canvass the neighborhoods on Friday night.

There is another great grandchild on the way. I’m going to put in a request now for the okay to tag along on his first night of meaningful Trick or Treating in three or four years.

Treasure the moments, folks.

Happy Halloween.

Granddaughter Tara and stepdaughter Christy  mid 80's.

Granddaughter Tara and stepdaughter Christy mid 80’s.


Tara as Pocahontas a couple years later.

Tara as Pocahontas a couple years later.








Sioux Falls Duck Dynasty

Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm
By: Doug Lund

Every time I see or hear somebody going gaga over the puzzlingly popular “Duck Dynasty” TV reality series, I think back to an interview I did over 20 years ago with a Sioux Falls gentleman named Frank Heidelbauer who was in the same business as Phil Robertson (creator of Duck Commander duck calls) only he didn’t have a beard or a bazillion dollar business. He simply made, arguably the finest duck and goose calls in the world.   vlcsnap-2014-10-15-13h03m26s202


Frank Heidelbauer grew up on an Iowa farm and loved hunting..especially ducks. As a boy he studied waterfowl sounds and leaned to call them out of the sky using nothing but his voice. Unfortunately, that talent disappeared one night when he was 12 or 13 when he awoke to find puberty had arrived and, like a thief, stole his natural duck calling voice so he would quack no more.

But Frank never forgot the sound he knew could get a duck’s attention and was determined to someday come up with a call to recreate it.

That would have to wait, though. His country needed him and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,  Frank joined the U.S. Army Air Corps; serving the entire length of World War II from 1941 to 1945  receiving two distinguished flying cross medals and two air medals. Frank would continue to make aviation his life career retiring in 1981 after over 20 years as Chief Pilot and safety director for Raven Industries.

After the war, Frank also got back on track toward his lofty goal of building the finest waterfowl calls in the world. His regular hunting trips became research and development missions.

With the skills of a fine wood craftsman, the mind of a scientist, the discipline and confidence of a military leader along with the faith and fairness of a prophet, Heidelbauer eventually found a combination of Bird’s Eye Maple wood and plastic along with the proper dimensions and assembly techniques that made for the perfect call.vlcsnap-2014-10-15-13h01m41s161

Frank was not a braggart by any means but after demonstrating the call for me; first leaning into it loud enough to get the attention of a flock flying a thousand feet over head or a not-so-understanding neighbor….then softly clucking as if ducks were having a quiet conversation on the pond…Frank smiled at me and said, “There’s no other single reed call that can do that.”


Not only did Frank once win world championships with his own calls, his reputation quickly outgrew his ability to keep up with demand..especially after write-ups in Field and Stream and other outdoors magazines.


The thing about Frank was he just wouldn’t settle for anything less than perfection.  I remember him telling me after he stopped making Goose calls for a while because the sheet plastic he’d been using for reeds was discontinued, “Most people wouldn’t know the difference but I would.” He said.vlcsnap-2014-10-15-13h06m23s179

At the time of our visit in 1991, the Heidelbauer Mallard Toller duck call was priced at $275.00. That’s an enormous amount of money for a duck call..probably the most expensive in the world but every Heidelbauer call was personally handcrafted by Frank himself who spent an average of  14 hours on each one and guaranteed them to be perfect upon leaving his shop and bring in ducks for the hunter.   I remember him saying, “You couldn’t hire a plumber in Sioux Falls for 14 hours for 275 dollars.”


That was the wonderful thing I took from our time together. He wasn’t interested so much in achieving big money or fame.(Although, many of the country’s top guides are on record as using Heidelbauer calls. One, Frank joked, told him he’d part with his wife before giving up his Heidelbauer call.) He was more interested in having people get outdoors and enjoy the hunting experience and if he could help you invite some ducks to the party…well, that’s reward enough.

About four years after our interview, Frank Heidelbauer, who had turned down lots of offers to sell his shop, tools and all his secrets, decided to turn everything over to his young protégé, Todd..his grandson. Todd had not only loved going hunting with Frank but been like a sponge hanging around the shop helping grandpa and learning the master’s skills..both as a craftsman and a gentleman.

Todd is still carrying on the Heidelbauer duck and goose calls tradition:

As for Frank, he was 73 at the time of our story. I recall him saying he hoped the good Lord would let him keep going until at least  80. It turns out he was still calling in Mallards, Mergansers, Red Heads and Canvas Backs until age 84 when God decided to give the ducks a break.

I don’t know what Frank might have thought about a show like Duck Dynasty..or if he’d ever heard of Duck Commander calls. I can almost guarantee, though, that any duck hunter worth his buckshot..including the bewiskered Phil Robertson.. has heard of Frank Heidelbauer.

Frank Heidelbauer and Grandson Todd after calling in some geese in 1994.

Frank Heidelbauer and Grandson Todd after calling in some waterfowl in 1994.

I’ll Never Forget Ol What’s Her Name

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm
By: Doug Lund

I had quite a scare the other day.

After waking up from, what has become my regular afternoon siesta, I couldn’t remember the president’s first name.  I don’t know why I wanted to remember the president’s first name but apparently I did and  couldn’t.  (Please don’t read anything political into this.) Obama was no problem. I also had no trouble recalling the name of Obama’s wife, Michelle, but..what the hell?? This is the President of the United States and I’m drawing a blank.

I’ve had these..what I call brain farts..before. I’ve gone into rooms on a mission only to completely forget what that mission is once I get there. I’ve had to call my own cell phone more times than I can count in order to hear the ring and disclose its location. I go to the store and forget one or more of the main items I went to the store for in the first place. I think these are pretty common episodes in most people’s lives no matter how far advanced in age they are.

But this was a doozy for me because it lasted for several minutes; almost to the point of where I was going to check Google on the computer under U.S. Presidents.   Then, as mysteriously as the name “Barack” left my mind, it popped back in.

The incident upset me so much that I started wondering if this was an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s which claimed my cousin Bob’s life last spring.  So, back to Google. Turns out, It could be…but most likely, according to a recent report on National Public Radio,  it’s nothing to be terribly concerned about.  If you start forgetting the names of close friends and family members or get lost in familiar places or words that used to be important no longer have meaning..well, then get yourself checked post haste.

I think (hope) this couple is just kidding around.

I think (hope) this couple is just kidding around.

Dr. Kirk Daffner, a Harvard Brain Specialist, says What’s common as people age, is that the speed at which information can be retrieved on demand is slowed. Through much of our lives, it was this wonderful gift; we wanted information and bang, it came to us.”   He says there are lots of reasons why our brains get sluggish.  High blood pressure damages the wiring that connects different parts of the brain. Poor sleep or excess alcohol are enemies of a nimble brain. And many medicines — including common drugs to reduce stomach acid, control asthma or treat depression — can slow the brain down. Hmmm, I take meds for high blood pressure, have goofy sleep habits and have been on Prozac for many years.  Strike one, two and three right? Well..not necessarily.  It turns out you can reduce the risk of losing your marbles by keeping the old brain ACTIVE and CHALLENGED.

So now, I can consider those hours spent in the porcelain reading room doing crosswords as a healthy time of both physical AND mental multi-tasking. Research has also found that social networks (having lots of friends) and stimulating activities are also vital to good cognitive function.   I have that covered; 825 friends on Facebook where I spend so much of my time. It’s  not a waste of time, It’s brain therapy.   And for stimulating activities..what can be more stimulating than watching the Minnesota Vikings or “Blue Bloods” “Hell on Wheels” “Downton Abbey”or any one of a hundred favorite television programs?    “I’ve gotta watch TV, honey. Doctor’s orders.”

“There is one other thing people can do,” Dr Daffner says, “physical exercise.” “Some of the best converging data about successful memory or cognition is linked to exercise.”

Damn. I was almost in the clear.

Neighborhood Mystery

Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm
By: Doug Lund

Well, some interesting things since we last visited.  A potpourri of items to follow:

First, I suppose, was the wake-up call/reality check from the Minnesota Vikings reminding me that they will always squish my foolish early optimism with humiliating defeats..and,  to make matters much worse, the team’s biggest star, Adrian Peterson, has fallen from the sky and come crashing to earth in a big ball of idiotic behavior and bad publicity all because he has some antiquated ideas about how to discipline his little kids.


Peterson obviously has no rules of discipline for himself, though,  making regular withdrawals from his unprotected sperm bank all over the country resulting in at least seven kids from five different moms.  Now, he’s getting his full pay while sidelined until the whole child abuse case is settled. Oy Vey.

Which reminds me; Happy New Year ( Rosh Hashanah) to my Jewish friends. I have two.

Fall has arrived without a lot of trumpets blaring. I suppose the lack of fanfare is because Summer has been a bit stubborn about getting out of the way which is fine by me.


I do find it puzzling that so many people I know proudly proclaim Autumn to be their favorite season when it means so many fun outdoorsy things of our short Summer;  swimming, boating, baseball, picnics, patio parties, golf and gardening are all over.  Oh, sure. The Autumn leaves (especially the sumac bushes) turn pretty colors, the air is crisp and cool, apple and pumpkin picking with the kids is nice so are homecoming parades and football games. Plus, it won’t be long before great armies of guys and gals outfitted in orange and armed with shotguns  will partake in their annual passion for Pheasant hunting.  Thousands will gather on opening day at the edge of fields, shelterbelts and sloughs…then at the stroke of twelve noon, with excited dogs sniffing the air, unleashed and leading the way, will all pile out of their pickups and march forward hoping to blast the beaks off as many of our pretty state birds as the limits will allow.  I hear pheasant numbers are up this year. Hope so.

I see the value of houses in our Ronning Estates neighborhood (an older Sioux Falls subdivision) has about maxed out meaning our ride on the real estate inflation train has pulled into the station. Linda and I have seen it coming for years, of course. These houses were built for first time home buyers back in the early seventies..most of them sold for about 18 thousand dollars but it didn’t take long for excited young families to make them look like a million bucks; adding garages, planting trees, grooming yards and demonstrating a real pride of ownership.  I’m happy to say that still exists out here.…..with a few exceptions. And it’s those exceptions that have us  checking the Real Estate ads for the first time ever. The other night around 10:45, I was in my lair watching TV when the doorbell rang followed by a loud knock on the door.  I’d like to say I raced to investigate but, like the true chicken I am, waited for Linda to join me in the hall before getting up on my tip toes  to peek out the small door window to see what creature might be lurking on the other side who would dare interrupt our slumber so late at night. I flicked on the porch light expecting..I don’t of the grandkids.. a tipsy friend..we had no idea. But there was no one.  Whoever it was had disappeared into the darkness. A mystery that will likely remain unsolved.

Oh, wait. What’s this? A note left by the door with a simple instruction.

notes 001


So I open it up and discover this:

note two

I blacked out the phallic symbol.

A stupid prank by a bunch of kids is all we can figure..but it has really unnerved Linda to the point where the window blinds are now shut tight and the porch light is left on all night.  (It turns out several of our neighbors got similar “notes” and late night knock and runs too.)

So..would we ever really consider pulling up stakes and moving into a condo?  Well, who wants to live in a neighborhood where you have to worry about who might be roaming the streets and banging on your door in the middle of the night?

Then something else happened that is nearly as mysterious as the note. Three different windy days have caused huge branches to come crashing down from our front yard Maple tree which was severely damaged in the April ice storm and, despite a trimming, continues to give up limbs every time a brisk breeze blows. One I managed to drag to the driveway intending to chop into garbage acceptable size pieces. The other two lay in the yard  awaiting my indecision on disposal. But before that could happen they VANISHED.

We have suspicions about which one of our neighbors may actually be our branch Good Samaritan..loading them up and hauling them away on three separate occasions .. but have decided to take our time figuring it out.

It could take years.



Early Purple Passion

Posted: Monday, September 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm
By: Doug Lund

I finally got our yard mowed for the first time since my brother…..

Nope, not going down that path again. It’s just that nearly everything that crosses my mind..while awake or asleep..has this common denominator of BD or AD (before Denny/after Denny) and I know it has to end..especially since I have been given pretty good evidence that all is well.  (No further Cardinal sightings to report, though.)

My dear Linda, in our 30 years of marriage, has never once nagged me about anything but in the past couple weeks, she’s rightfully and cleverly found ways to help me “just snap out of it.”  She’s tried to get and keep me moving..which is nearly an impossible task even when not in mourning.

So, I thank her but also..and especially.. THANK YOU for all the expressions of sympathy and encouragement.

Okay, then. Let’s move on.

Vikings Win! Vikings Win!

Cordarrelle Patterson #84 of the Minnesota Vikings runs up field after slipping a tackle. Vikings win 34 to 6

Cordarrelle Patterson #84 of the Minnesota Vikings runs up field after slipping a tackle. Vikings win 34 to 6

Usually winning during the pre-season doesn’t mean a blasted thing because it’s..well..pre-season. But when the Vikings emerged victorious from all four of those dress rehearsals, we long-suffering fans couldn’t help but get a tiny bit worked up and, dare I say, feel optimistic? Then, along comes Sunday and right from the get-go it’s clear there’s a new sideline sheriff in town and we’re gonna do things a bit different from now on. Jared Allen is long gone and now enduring the heartbreak of defeat with the Bears while the defense on his old team looked excited, fresh and effective allowing just two field goals. Okay, it was against the Rams, but still, a pretty impressive performance for a Vikings defense which let everyone score…and score a lot.. just last season.  Quarterback, Matt Cassel continued to look sharp..getting rid of the ball quickly and decisively unlike his bewildered predecessor who oozed lack of confidence at the position. I suppose every Viking fan’s favorite Norwegian player, Adrian Peterson, was the day’s biggest disappointment and he was. At least new head coach, Mike Zimmer and legendary football guru, Norv Turner (calling the plays) got so tired of seeing Peterson ramming his helmet into the Ram’s defensive line for no gain that they decided to put the ball into the hands of the guy who is fast becoming fan’s NEW favorite Norwegian Viking, Cordarrelle Patterson.  It is such a joy to watch him scamper down the field with the ball and into the end zone. Patterson, it seems to me, can only inspire Peterson to do everything possible to regain his top dog status. Oh, I’s a team sport but I’ll bet Adrian notices the growing number of fan jerseys with the number 84 instead of 28.

With a fine couple of kickers in Walsh and Locke along with Teddy Bridgewater learning more and more each week about quarterbacking in the NFL, I feel rather optimistic about Minnesota’s chances in 2014. Perhaps not as optimistic as my friend, Myron Lee who somehow always manages to see silver linings in the darkest of Vikings clouds..including the Les Steckle fiasco of 1984.

Oh, boy..this whole thing could change after next week, though, when Bill Belichick and Tom Brady bring the New England Patriots to the University of Minnesota campus where they’ll try use the Vikings as a means of atonement for their humiliating loss to Miami.

Few things would bring greater pleasure than to have another stellar performance by our defense keeping Mr. Brady’s heels lifted high toward the sunny September Minnesota sky most of the afternoon while my Norwegian brothers take turns romping across that pretend prairie grass running up score after score.

Well, a guy can dream can’t he?

Better than those I’ve been having…

No..said I wasn’t going there.

By the way, The Arizona “Cardinals” play tonight. I expect to see them.

Bird Of Paradise?

Posted: Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm
By: Doug Lund

People die.

That’s the law.

I just wasn’t ready for my brother to die and that’s the truth.

I suppose it’s because he’s bounced back from adversity so many times during his 72 years, we..his family and friends..just figured he wouldn’t let Parkinson’s, COPD, a heart that wouldn’t stay in rhythm, CREST Syndrome and a few other physical ailments stand in his way of recovery this time.

It was too much, of course, and it turned out that Saturday August 16th would be Dennis Lund’s last day on earth. He tried to hang on so everyone could be there but he was hurting and breathing was such a chore. Totally aware of everything going on, Denny accepted our expressions of love and offered his to all of us in the room, then gave the green light for nurse Charlie to administer the morphine and  end his agony.

As requested, Denny’s memorial service at Boom’s wasn’t real traditional. Pastor, Dennis Ellingson..a family friend..agreed to come out of retirement to lead the proceedings that included a memorable eulogy from Denny’s wife, Judy who recounted that final day in the hospital and some of the wonderful and witty things my brother said before dying. Judy was well aware that her husband loved the game of golf almost as much as he loved her yet she made sure there was a definite golf theme to his service; the most obvious being my brother’s ashes contained in a golf-ball shaped urn.  

denny funeral

I got up next trying to keep the mood light telling tales of growing up together..sharing a wetting that bed and he accidentally rolling into the puddle. That haunted me through the years when Denny would bring it up in front of people who’d recognize me from TV. I also got some chuckles talking about my brother’s various business adventures..especially raising Llamas and how I’d cringe when people would ask me to explain what in the world he was doing that for.  My younger brother, Tom was next and, again, with humor through the pauses for swallowing, talked of Denny’s influence on our lives; his bravado, his lightening-fast wit and his surprising tender side. Then Denny and Judy’s son, Jay summoned up the emotional stamina to tell one of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard about he and his dad digging fence posts at the Llama farm on a cold autumn day.

There was actually applause after it was over and, as the overflow crowd slowly exited from the room to the music of Blood, Sweat and Tears “When I Die,”  I couldn’t help overhear many people saying it was one of the best funerals they’d ever attended. Others said the weirdest. Still others mentioned an hour long roller coaster ride of emotions.

In keeping with the theme of celebration over melancholy, everyone gathered at the VFW where a special room was set aside for us to meet and enjoy pizza from Denny and Judy’s favorite place, Tomacelli’s, along with beverages and an open mic for sharing Denny stories.

Denny and Judy’s first born son, Mitchell, along with his wife, Jodi, hardly left his dad’s side throughout the entire stay in the hospital and Good Sam.  But, being even more emotional than the rest of us, Mitch chose not to speak at the service. But later at the VFW gathering, he absolutely brought hysterical laughter telling the story of once running into his dad at one of Mitchell, South Dakota’s more notorious night spots.  Father and son used to joke about the incident with Mitch suggesting he was named after the city to our west. But there was no kidding around on the Saturday of Denny’s passing, though, when..for the first time ever,  he called his eldest boy..”sweetheart.”

The next day was going through sympathy cards and sending “Thank-you’s.”

The last two days I haven’t left the house except to pick up a few essentials. It’s been mostly sleeping and feeling sorry for myself.

My brother’s passing isn’t about me and yet he was such a part of who I am, the reality of what’s transpired seems unacceptable. We didn’t see each other every “month” much less every day yet I always knew he was there to answer a question or offer advice; my one true blood source that I trusted.

As I stood over him last Saturday, I told him again how much I’ve loved and  idolized him all my life and what an influence he’s been on nearly everything I’ve done. What I didn’t ask, though, is about dying itself. I selfishly wanted to know what he’s experiencing…if he could lead the way again and let me know that he sees the light and everything would be okay on the other side.

But it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway; morphine, by that time, had  numbed his reality and within a short time a single tear slid down his cheek and, with a room full of sobbing loved ones looking on, Denny drew his last breath.


Okay, this next part might be what journalists call “burying the lead” but then most journalists probably wouldn’t accept what I’m about to relate as anything but pure fiction anyway but here goes.

Facebook is not everybody’s cup of tea but I like it. Of course you have to overlook the  political rambling, silly game requests and other hooey, but it has allowed me to hook up with old friends and new who have been fun to play and celebrate with as well as offer council and sympathy to. Lord knows I’ve been on the receiving end of that a lot lately for which I’m profoundly grateful.

One of those friends is a woman I’ve never met; Greg Latza’s mom, Carol. She posted this on her timeline just as I sat down to my computer feeling very depressed.


A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. When you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them. They also make an appearance during times of celebration as well as despair to let you know they will always be with you. Look for them, they'll appear.

A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. When you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them. They also make an appearance during times of celebration as well as despair to let you know they will always be with you. Look for them, they’ll appear.

My first thought was chain letter or one of those religious ultimatum sayings that pop up now and again on social media but, there were no demands here. Just a declarative statement that says look for them..they’ll appear. So I said, “Oh yeah?” “Appear then!” and looked out my window at the tree.

Within 5 seconds a beautiful red cardinal landed and paraded around on the branch not 15 feet from the window! I’ve seen them in my tree before..maybe a couple times a year..usually hidden in the leaves. This beautiful representative hopped proudly in full view. When my heart finally left my throat, I hollered for Linda to come quick. But by the time she got here, the scarlet messenger had taken flight.

I only hope that the passage of time and the inevitable skepticism that haunts my being will not dilute this experience..this reassurance I’ve been given..expressed best in words from a favorite hymn:  “It is well…it is well..with my soul.”















Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 at 11:39 am
By: Doug Lund

It’s been an emotional couple weeks in the Lund house which I’m going to go ahead and use as an excuse for my blog keyboard being quiet. That and there being no comments to the last effort which, for a sensitive writer like myself, causes considerable anxiety and self-doubt.

Anyway, regular readers know that few couples get along better than Linda and me (Linda and I?? Never did get that right) but we had a doozy of a dispute which resulted in words said..doors slammed..and a couple days of silence in  separate corners of the house. I only share this because I sometimes write here so glowingly about us and all the fun times it seems only fair to let you know that even in the best of relationships, differences of opinions can and do arise; each are convinced they’re right and say so. Stubbornness and pride prevail until, weary of the standoff,  somebody quietly knocks on the other’s door..apologies are offered and accepted..before long..thank God..everything is back to normal.

This time, though, our quarrel came to an abrupt end  after a phone call from my nephew, Mitch who said his brother Denny..had been taken to the hospital and was in the ICU where he was about to undergo a procedure to stop internal bleeding. Denny is four years my senior and, even though I outwardly hated him growing up because of all the typical big brother teasing and tormenting…inwardly he was and still is my idol.

keowee and olav 025Denny has been dealing with erratic heart rhythm problems for years and, after a mini stroke in 2008, has been on a blood thinning medication. He’s also on medication for Parkinson’s and a bunch of other ailments. (Look up crest has nothing to do with toothpaste) In the hospital he underwent 3 procedures to deal with his problems and now he’s staring at the walls and little TV at Good Samaritan on 46th and Marion Road awaiting his next rehab session. There’s no prognosis and no time table for how long he’ll be there.

Judy, Denny’s wife, knows all about those husband/wife fights..having lived with my brother for..what will be 50 years this December..but even though she, herself, is in desperate need of shoulder surgery, has barely left Denny’s side through these tough times. She, like the rest of us, keeps looking for a silver lining in the dark clouds that keep drifting over Denny’s illness and hopes for recovery.

Spiritually speaking, I’ve been such a doubting Douglas lately that I hesitate to request others, who know me, appeal to the Deity on my brother’s behalf.  But just like his illness allowed Linda and I to put aside petty differences and instinctively find agreement on what’s really important, I ask you to look beyond my perceived religious hypocrisy and lift Denny up by whatever means you feel will get the challenge met.

I really appreciate it, but there’s no need to comment or acknowledge your thoughts and prayers. I just hope you’ll really do it and that God will hear and God will heal my brother.


Space: Going Nowhere Slow

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm
By: Doug Lund

malaysia11I don’t mind telling you, this shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over the Ukraine killing nearly 300 people is not only an enormous tragedy to the victims and their families but it has raised some old personal fears about the possibility of nuking it out with the Russians that I haven’t felt in decades. I don’t pretend to understand much of what goes on in that part of the world or why a significant number of people living in former Soviet Communist states are now rebelling against the very independence they craved in 1989 and are now siding with Russian premier…excuse me, “President” Vladimir Putin” the longtime KGB guy who sure seems as though he’d like to get the old Soviet gang back together. How some idiot could possibly think that firing a surface to air missile at a civilian jetliner and bringing it down in a ball of fire would help their cause, is beyond belief. Instead, what we have once again is a world on the brink.

We better not get too mad with the Russians though..or they with us. We could lose our only ride into space.

At about the same time Americans were celebrating the 45th anniversary of Neal Armstrong’s first steps on the moon this past week, NASA was announcing that it intends to buy six more seats, at 70 million dollars a pop, on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry American astronauts to and from the International Space Station for the next four years.malaysa astronauts

NASA is funding development of a couple of commercial space craft:  SpaceX’s Dragon and Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus. Both have made successful supply missions to the station but won’t be ready to carry actual astronauts until 2017 so we continue to hitchhike with the ruskies.   The United States hasn’t sent a manned vehicle into space since NASA scuttled the shuttle in 2011. The Soyuz is one of only two operational orbital manned spacecraft in the world, the other being China’s Shenzhou which until a couple years ago was still sending up test dummies  meaning its working out bugs we solved decades ago so  nobody outside of China is lining up to ride with them just yet.

Outer space used to be so exciting. I vividly remember that day in late July of 1969 watching history unfold on television with my young family. Two year old Patty was more interested in her toys than TV, but I do recall holding 4 year old Suzan in my lap during the moon landing and again later when Neal Armstrong first set foot on the surface. I was hoping to make sure she would have these historic moments imprinted on her brain. It wasn’t long, though, before she lost interest and squirmed free to join her sister at play.

malaysa neal

I’ve  loved and followed every tidbit of news about space exploration from Sputnik to the Mars rovers but, I’m afraid, like my daughter so many years ago, I’ve lost interest in launching astronauts into orbit and would rather just play with my toys.   This isn’t to say the universe has no appeal. On the contrary, it is fascinating beyond measure to see close-up images from Mars and other planets and moons in our solar system and beyond but, let’s face it, we were hoping to discover life and haven’t and likely won’t. The pictures from space telescopes have opened our eyes to how mind-blowingly vast not only our galaxy is but revealed that ours is just one of billions of other galaxies; all of them impossibly out of reach to humans unless aliens come by and give us a lift.  (Watched the last third of Close Encounters of the Third Kind last night. Looking at it now, they could have easily cut the movie length by a third shortening those dragged out reaction shots at the Devil’s Tower landing site and John Williams’ crescendo-filled score. But it’s still a fun flick.)   The problem is, everything in space is so far away. Voyager 1, launched 30 years on an exploration mission is the fastest man-made vehicle ever built and has reached a top speed of 36 thousand miles an hour. It has only recently slipped out of our solar system. Light travels at 186 thousand miles a “second” and it would take 490 years traveling at the speed of light to reach the closest planet detected so far by astronomers that could sustain life as we know it.

I guess there are plans for another manned (and womanned, presumably) mission to the Moon in 2018. The idea would be to set up a base for future missions to Mars and elsewhere.

Future Moon base? meh.

Future Moon base? meh.

I hate to be a pessimist but I’ll believe it when the rockets roar. Americans love a challenge and discovering new things. But we also have short attention spans and get bored after objectives are achieved (The Moon and Mars) and other agendas ( Space stations and shuttles) aren’t so exciting.  I can already hear the outrage over NASA wasting money on building vehicles to go where we’ve already been.  What about health care, they’ll say, and the homeless and global warm…er, I mean climate change?

It’s human nature to desire the exploration of new worlds in the heavens but, I’m afraid, until somebody figures out how to get there through wormholes or alternate dimensions, we’ll have to fill our space fantasies through the courtesy of Hollywood and 3D.

One of the great thrills of my professional life was getting the chance to meet and interview Wally of the original seven Mercury Astronauts and the only one to fly in all three manned space flight programs; Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. He was in Sioux Falls speaking at Augustana, I believe, and agreed to visit our Keloland Early News show.
He talked about working alongside Walter Cronkite during television coverage of Apollo 11 and how both tried rather unsuccessfully to maintain their composure on-air during those critical moments before and after the moon landing.

Walter Cronkite (left) and Wally Schirra (middle) react after "The Eagle has landed" on the moon.

Walter Cronkite (left) and Wally Schirra (middle) react after “The Eagle has landed” on the moon.

After our interview, he needed a ride to the airport which I was more than happy to provide. During that short trip I asked if he would have liked to have flown aboard the shuttle in later life like John Glenn. I’m sure he said yes but added he wasn’t a big fan of the shuttle program reflecting on it like most Americans, I think, saying he didn’t see how it was challenging our imagination for space exploration.

Wally Schirra used to get on his bosses nerves at NASA saying things like that. It made me like him all the more.